932. The Spinner, by Paul Valéry

The garden rocks in a melodious swell.
Beside the open sash a woman spins
And grows bewildered by her snoring wheel.

Tired, having drunk the azure, she begins
To dream, guiding the evasive, wheedling hair
With feeble hands; her little head inclines.

By falling flowers formed, and the pure air,
A living spring suspended to the day
Waters her garden while she idles there.

A stem the restless wind lingers to sway
Inclines a vain salute of starry grace —
Its rose before the ancient wheel to lay.

The sleeper spins a single thread. The lace
Of fragile shadow strangely interweaves,
Spun with the thread her sleeping fingers trace.

The gentle spindle endlessly receives
The lazy-winding dream with a caress
That stirs the credulous skein which it relieves.

Beyond so many flowers the blue is less
Than blue, spinner bound by leaves and light:
The last tree burns. The green sky perishes.

The rose, your sister, where a saint delights,
Perfumes your vague brow with her innocent breath;
You languish ... you are an extinguished light

At the blue window, where you spun the thread.

(trans Barbara Gibbs)

Source: Selected Writings of Paul Valery

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